My boss wants more response to my comments. This ought to do it!
At a lively discussion of county livestock breeders, a divide as wide as the Grand Canyon developed between those who thought more rules should be added for the livestock show, and those who thought there were so many rules it wasn't fun for kids anymore.
Those who thought there are too many rules felt it was the parents who worried about rules, not kids. Left alone, kids would do the right thing. In fact, shouldn't kids be the ones making what few rules are needed?
Why should you have to turn in a form for this, a record sheet for that, have your animal inspected, show registration papers? And who cares what kind of fan or bedding you use? Just turn it over to the kids and they'll be courteous. They're just having fun anyway.
Or so the argument went. To be fair, there are counties, such as Bartholomew County, that involve their youth through a junior fair board. But as far as I know, there are still adults in key leadership positions there.
If it was a perfect world, it would be great not to need rules. But it's not and never will be. If it was, we wouldn't need speed limits or rules about drunk driving just to protect ourselves from one another. And while what happens in a 4-H show ring hardly compares to an accident caused by a speeder or drunk driver, it's a setting where youth learn the value of guidelines. They need boundaries. Ask them and they'll tell you they want to know where the limits are; whether each kid chooses to obey them or not is a different story. Not all adults obey them either.
I don't favor any more rules than necessary. But let's take off the colored glasses. There wasn't a problem with drugs detected in carcasses of winning lambs at the 2009 Indiana State Fair just because officials said 'go have a good time.' Instead, after a fiasco in 2008, they clamped down, and it apparently helped.
Just for a moment, imagine a county fair hog show in Perfect County, Indiana, where the only rule is that you have to be a 4-H'er with a pig.
Its' show day - the announcer calls for a class of Hampshires. "Just a minute judge," the young ringman says, "Johnny decided to show his Hamp-looking barrow as a Hamp. He needs a few minutes to get him ready."
Later, the ring person tells the judge, "Hang on, Joey decided just this morning to bring another Spot gilt. He's unloading her now. He'll be here in five minutes."
Or how about this one: "Judge, Amanda used her Duroc gilt in showmanship this morning, but the gilt is in heat. So she's going to bring her best friend's Spot barrow for the finals. That's OK, isn't it?"
Or, finally, this one: "Yes, Mr. Superintendent, Amy lives five counties away and shows there. But she's a better showman than her cousin. All it says is that she must be in 4-H. She's going to show the pig, OK?"
Four ridiculous examples? Exactly! But they would be reality if there weren't basic rules. Yes, we can rule ourselves to death. But the notion that 'everybody will get along and be courteous if you just don't have so many rules' won't work.
At least it won't in this imperfect world!
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